It's Time To Own Childhood Obesity

To the Editor:

As a practicing registered nurse in critical care and BSN student, I know the impact that childhood obesity has on society, both currently and in the future.

According to the CDC, by 2020, 14.7 million children and adolescents were obese or overweight. In Ohio, 17.2% of youth ages 10 to 17 have obesity, giving Ohio a ranking of 17 among the 50 states. In addition, overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and develop chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure.

Of course, this is not a new problem. However, it is an unspoken area of health impacted by COVID-19 that affects our community.

The long-term impact of prolonged school closures on students and distance learning from the pandemic remains unknown. Everyone speaks of the academic perspective; however, the pandemic has created an “extended summer break” from health and physical education with potentially disastrous consequences.

Currently, Ohio does not mandate a specific amount of time for health/physical education for elementary and middle school students, only high school students. Yet, school is the primary location for children to learn about health, participate in physical activities, and lay the groundwork for lifelong healthy living. Put this on the long list of things that COVID-19 took away from us as a society.

But we can do something about it.

As a healthcare provider and citizen of Lakewood, I am very proud that our city is embarking on a Community Needs Health Assessment. As we move forward, I propose that the city consider changing its school requirements to a mandated time for health and physical education for all students.

In my expert opinion, this would protect our children from the long-term effects of poor health and create a healthy community for Lakewood’s future. I have spent the last two years trying to keep people alive during the most trying times in my 27 years of nursing. It is time to focus on the future and fix what COVID-19 broke in our community, starting with our children.

Cheryl Mooney  is a Critical Care RN at Avon Hospital who began her nursing career at Lakewood Hospital. She is the mother of three adult children raised in Lakewood and has lived here for the past 43 years, graduating from Lakewood High School in 1986. She has an interest in rebooting our community after the pandemic. 

Cheryl Mooney

I am a Critical Care RN at Avon Hospital who began my nursing career at Lakewood Hospital. I am the mother of three adult children raised in Lakewood. I have lived here for the past 43 years, graduating from Lakewood High School in 1986. I have an interest in rebooting our community after the pandemic. 

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Volume 18, Issue 11, Posted 12:29 PM, 06.01.2022